Regulator Says Fox-Sky Deal Not in the Public Interest

A British regulatory body had determined that 21st Century Fox’s proposal to acquire the 61% stake in Sky that it does not already owns would not be in the public interest.

The Competition and Markets Authority, in a provisional report, said that the combination would give the family of Rupert Murdoch, who control 21st Century Fox and News Corp. too much control over the new business in the U.K.

The CMA also concluded that Fox had a "genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK" and was established in the country.

Related: Fox's Sky Consolidation Proposal Officially Referred to CMA

The recent sexual harassment issues at Fox News were not directly related to broadcast standards, the CMA determined.

21st Century Fox has agreed to sell assets, including its stake in Sky to the Walt Disney Co., so the issue of the Murdoch’s share of the market might become moot.

“We are disappointed by the CMA’s provisional findings,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement.

“Today’s provisional findings move our proposed Sky transaction forward to the next phase of the regulatory review process. We welcome the CMA’s provisional finding that the Company has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards and the transaction would not be against the public interest in this respect,” 21st Century Fox said.

The CMA will issue a final report in May. 21st Century Fox says it anticipate regulatory approval for the deal by June 30.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.